How often do you think workplace injuries occur? It’s reported that workplace injuries happen every seven seconds in the United States.
These injuries range from minor sprains to life-threatening injuries. What happens when you get hurt at work and you have to miss work? There are many questions that come up around your income, insurance, and medical bills.
Workplace injury law covers these issues. These laws are designed to protect workers and employers in these situations.
Do you want to know the ins and outs of workplace injury law and what your legal rights are?
Keep reading to learn the legal basics of workplace injuries and workers’ compensation.
A History of Workplace Injury Law
The history of workplace injury law goes back over 100 years. It was a result of the industrial revolution when jobs went from farms to factories. It was also a time when buildings and bridges popped up in cities across the country.
These were extremely dangerous jobs, often resulting in death. The building of the Brooklyn Bridge resulted in 30 deaths.
When workers got hurt on the job, they had to prove that the employer was negligent. If the employee was in any way responsible for the injury, then the employer would use a contributory negligence claim.
They had a big fight on their hands just to recover lost wages and pay medical bills. Most claims were unpaid.
There was an undercurrent of workers’ rights throughout the country. Workers often went on strike for better working conditions, only to be met by police and other forces.
The Employers’ Liability Acts of 1906 and 1908 were passed by Congress. These laws weren’t fully sweeping laws at the federal level. They did lower the bar on contributory negligence and opened the door for states to pass their own laws.
It wasn’t until 1911 when the first state (Wisconsin) passed a worker’s compensation law. By 1920, 36 states had similar laws on the books. The last state to have some workers’ compensation law was Mississippi in 1948.
These laws have remained intact over the years. Some states changed the laws to include other types of injuries, such as repetitive use injuries.
Workplace Injury Law Basics
Workplace injury law falls under the area of personal injury law. Since each state passed its own law pertaining to workers’ compensation and workplace injuries, this area of the law is overseen by state labor boards.
Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is an insurance policy that’s overseen by state labor boards but sold by private insurance companies.
Labor boards set rates and rules regarding compensation. They also approve private companies to sell insurance policies to businesses.
What You Need to Know About Filing a Workplace Injury Claim
The law around workplace injuries can be incredibly complicated. There are some things that you need to know in order to successfully file a claim.
The first thing is whether or not you were hurt on the job. Let’s say that you were working on the roof of your home and sustained an injury. You have to miss work, but you can’t file a claim because the injury wasn’t work-related.
The other issue is whether or not you’re an employee or an independent contractor. Workplace injury laws only cover employees of the company. Contractors are out of luck. They’ll need to contact their own insurance company for coverage.
A part of workplace injury law is the statute of limitations. This is the amount of time an employee has to report a workplace injury and file the case.
In some states, the statute of limitations only gives you a few days to report the injury to your employer. You need to know the statute of limitations in your state because your claim will be denied if you wait too long.
You need to take a few steps when you file a workplace injury claim. You should seek medical attention immediately, whether the injury is serious or not. This gives you documentation and proof that ties your injury to the workplace.
You’ll then report the workplace injury to your employer. They will have you fill out paperwork and file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company.
The employer is required to report the injury to the board that oversees workplace injury claims in your state.
The insurance company will review your claim and ask for additional documentation. They will offer a settlement, or they could deny your claim outright.
Hiring a Workplace Injury Attorney
Should your claim be denied, or you think the settlement offer is low, you can seek the services of a workplace injury attorney.
The attorney will review your case and tell you what the merits of your case are. They’ll then develop a plan to proceed with your claim.
Workplace injury law firms negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. Sometimes, they’ll go to court to get the right result for your claim.
You might be concerned about the costs to hire an attorney. Workplace injury lawyers get paid on a contingency basis. The contingency is that they have to deliver a settlement in order to get paid.
The amount of your settlement depends on the rules in your state. The state labor boards determine how much of your settlement can go to attorney fees.
Since you don’t have anything to lose by hiring an attorney, you can get started and find an attorney.
Your Guide to Workplace Injury Law
Workplace injury law is an area of the law that protects workers when they’re injured in the workplace.
You may need to hire a workplace injury law firm to help you get the money you deserve. You will have an attorney who will handle your claim and reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. You can use that time and energy to focus on your recovery.
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